Why Do Electric Kettles Have Maximum Water Levels? (Explained)

All electric kettles have a maximum water level. You may have already noticed if you own an electric kettle.

Even without knowing what it is for or why it is placed there, most people fill their electric kettles up to that level.

So why do electric kettles have a maximum water level? What is it really for?

Here Is Why Electric Kettles Have A Maximum Water Level:

Electric kettles have a maximum water level for safety purposes. Filling up your electric kettle with more water than is recommended can flood or damage your electric kettle. It could also cause some burn-related injuries and put you in danger.

Does It Really Matter How Much Water You Put In An Electric Kettle?

The amount of water you put in your electric kettle matters a lot.

This is because how much you fill up your electric kettle can affect how it works. Filling up your electric kettle with too much or too little water can cause some damage to it.

This is why manufacturers indicate the maximum amount of water you can put in your electric kettle. Exceeding this can be a huge safety hazard for you and your household.

What Happens If You Don’t Fill It With Too Much Water?

Electric kettles convert electric energy into thermal energy through a heating coil. All electric kettles have a coil that acts as the heating component when the kettle is turned on.

You can see the coil at the bottom in some electric kettles, particularly the basic ones. In other brands or models, the coil is housed inside a metal plate to hide it from sight.

When the kettle is turned on, the electric energy is turned to thermal energy, which then heats the water inside the kettle. When the water is heated up to a boiling point, the thermostat will detect that, triggering the electric kettle to turn off on its own.

When you fill up the electric kettle with too much water, here are the things that could happen:

The water inside the electric kettle could boil over.

When something is heated, it expands. So when the thermal energy heats the water inside the electric kettle, the water molecules would tend to vibrate.

If you fill up your electric kettle above the maximum water level, the boiling water can overflow and spill outside of the kettle. Hot water may shoot outside of the spout.

Since this is water at boiling point, it is so hot that it can scald your skin and cause some burn injuries.

In addition, it can also be an electrical hazard. Hot water can get to electrical plugs and outlets when it spills throughout your kitchen. It can splash all over other appliances.

Water and electricity do not go together. You can even get electrocuted.

The electric kettle can get damaged.

The thermostat is usually found at the top of the electric kettle.

It is a sensor that triggers the automatic shut-off of the electric kettle once it detects that the water has reached boiling point.

If the electric kettle is filled above the maximum water level, it will cover the sensor with water, affecting the automatic shut-off.

If the electric kettle does not turn off automatically, the hot water will build up, which can melt the plastic components of your electric kettle. These plastic components can get permanently damaged; when they do, you have no choice but to throw your kettle out and buy a new one.

In addition, once they melt, these plastic components could release toxic chemicals into your hot water. These chemicals can make your water taste funny and unsafe for consumption.

What Is The Maximum Amount Of Water For A Kettle To Work Properly?

Electric kettles come in different shapes, sizes, and liquid capacities.

Some electric kettles can only hold up to 1 liter of water, while some can hold up to 1.9 or 2 liters. The capacity depends on the model and the brand.

Generally, standard electric kettles can hold up to 1.7 liters of water. That is also the maximum amount of water allowed for these electric kettles to work properly.

While most electric kettles can hold so much more water, the manual will indicate the maximum amount of water it can boil. It is always best to follow that.

Electric kettles will always indicate how much water you can boil in them, so you do not have to guess. It can be written on the outside of the kettle, or it can be embossed on the inside.

So even if your water kettle can hold more water than what is prescribed, always follow the maximum water level so that you would not have any problems.

What Happens If You Turn On The Kettle With Too Much Water?

You may wonder what would happen if you turned on your electric kettle with too much water. Well, the answer is pretty simple.

If you turn on your electric kettle with too much water, the water will overflow once it boils and spill outside of your electric kettle.

Sometimes, hot water will shoot out of the electric kettle, which can burn your skin.

The hot water can also reach other kitchen appliances, electric wirings, cords, plugs, and outlets. You can get electrocuted when you contact these objects when they are wet.

This is why you should never fill up your electric kettle with too much water. Always fill it up to the maximum water level and never above it.

Why Do So Many Kettles Have A Capacity Of 7 Cups Or 1.7 Liters?

If you checked different brands and models of electric kettles, you would notice that many of them have a capacity of 1.7 liters. Although some have a capacity of 1 liter or 1.5 liters, 1.7 is the most common for those electric kettles with big capacities.

One reason is that it is the most efficient volume of water you can boil.

If you boil too little water, it will not be enough for most uses. If you boil too much, you may end up not using all of it, so that it will be wasted.

The second reason is the units of measurement used in different countries.

Some countries use liters to measure the volume of water, and some use pints. To simplify things, most manufacturers decided to just put 1.7 liters as a maximum capacity.

In pints, this amount converts to roughly 3 pints.

So on the manual, manufacturers can just put 1.7 liters or 3 pints as the maximum water level, which will be easy for everyone to follow.

Can You Damage The Kettle By Filling It With Too Much Water?

While safety issues could stem from filling up an electric kettle with too much water, it can also affect the longevity of your device.

You can damage your electric kettle by filling it with too much water.

Too much water in an electric kettle takes a long time to cool down. The longer the water stays hot, the more likely it can damage the components of your electric kettle.

Hot water can melt the plastic components of your water kettle, which can cause it to break down. This is why it is advised never to put too much water inside your electric kettle.

Ensure the water is not above the maximum when filling your electric kettle. This prevents any safety hazards and ensures that your electric kettle lasts long.


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